By Matthew Stepanic
The Yellowhead Highway crosses the gorgeous prairie provinces of Canada with their golden wheat fields — and one of the best uses for that bounty is beer! Experience the flavour of the prairies at these independent breweries that call the edges of the highway home. Remember to choose a designated driver to chauffeur you to these spots — don’t drink and drive!
Three friends fell in love with the North Coast town of Prince Rupert and chose to stay there and produce great-tasting beer that showcases Prince Rupert’s vibrant nature. Their Flagship Pale Ale is a refreshing bold beer, and their Smokehouse Porter is robust and finishes with a unique smoky taste. A bonus for families: children are welcome in the lounge! Thu 4 pm - 8 pm; Fri 4 pm - 10 pm; Sat 2 pm - 8 pm; Sun 2 pm - 6 pm. 217-1 Ave. E, Prince Rupert, 250-624- 2739. wheelhousebrewing.com
Three Ranges Brewing
A small community brewery, Three Ranges welcomes locals and tourists to its peaceful locale. Made with great mountain water, the toasty chocolately Snow Dance Porter or the balanced citrus flavour of the Tail Slap IPA are tasty regulars at this brewery. Bring a growler to take home some brews or relax with a pint in the friendly atmosphere of the bar. Wed - Sat 3 pm - 8 pm; Sun 1 pm - 6pm. 1160-5 Ave., Valemont. threeranges.com
Red Collar Brewing Co.
Named after the red collar of their beloved black Labrador, this family-owned brewery is run with over 25 years of brewing experience. Following European styles in their brews, Red Collar serves everything from a traditional Belgian Trappist beer to a dark-roasted German lager. The brewery hosts nerdy trivia nights, drink and draws where people are encouraged to be creative, and a home brewers club for those who want to make their own beer! Tue - Wed 4 pm - 10 pm; Thu - Fri 3 pm - 10 pm; Sat 1 pm - 10 pm. 355 Lansdowne St., Kamloops. 778-471-0174. redcollar.ca
Jasper Brewing Co.
At this brewpub and eatery, you’ll find the perfect classic foods that will accompany their authentic beer. Established in 2005, the brewery sources its hops and malts from around the world and brews in fresh glacial water for a unique twist. One of the feature beers is the Jasper the Bear Ale, which is a pale ale fermented with honey and coriander to accent its clean finish. Sun - Sat 11:30 am - 1 am. 624 Connaught Dr., Jasper. 780-852- 4111. jasperbrewingco.ca
Bench Creek Brewing
Using a wilderness theme for its beers, this brewery focuses on strong stand-alone tastes with complex flavours. Currently, the brewery offers a Pale Ale, an India Pale Ale, and a Porter. This place has an extra rustic charm as it’s difficult to locate on your GPS, so be sure to visit the website for a detailed map and driving instructions. Fri 4 pm - 7 pm; Sat 11 am - 3 pm. Edson, 780-517-7008. benchcreekbrewing.com
Named after the same historic traveller as the highway, this microbrewery is located in the heart of downtown Edmonton in a beautiful brick building. It serves up a signature light golden-amber, the Yellowhead Premium Lager, along with a dark beer and one infused with fruit. Tours can be booked or you can take a growler home! Thu 11 am - 2 pm; Fri 2 pm - 6 pm; Sat 11 am - 2 pm; Sun 12:30 pm - 4 pm. 10229-105 St., Edmonton, 780-423-3333. yellowheadbrewery.com
Paddock Wood Brewing Co.
Saskatchewan’s first microbrewery offers great-tasting beer with names that claim the province as their home. From the portmanteau Hefeweizen, “Saskatcheweizen”, to the India Pale Ale, “606”, the clever names add to the flavour of the beer. You can purchase brew kits, yeasts, and any other supplies you may need to start your own homebrew! Mon - Sat 10 am - 6 pm. B1, 116-103 St. E, Saskatoon, 306-477-5632. paddockwood.com
Nokomis Craft Ales
Begun with an old-fashioned barn raising, this small-scale brewery in a quaint shack opened in August 2014. Taste their regular lineup of finely crafted beer, including a Golden Ale, an India Pale Ale, and specialty season beers at their hospitable bar. Thu - Fri 3 pm - 6 pm. 301-1 Ave. E, Nokomis, 306-528-9910. nokomiscraftales.com
Farmery Estate Brewery
Formerly the owners of the popular Luxalune Gastropub, the Warwaruk family is now focusing on their brewery. Before the brewery officially opens for tours in the summer of 2016, you can buy bread, cake, and flapjack mix made from the barley they grow on their farm and only requires you to add one can of their beer before enjoying a tasty, home-baked treat! And visit the nearby Hop Yard, which showcases 45 different varieties of barley and the evolution of this important grain. Located near the junction of the Yellowhead Highway and Highway 352, Neepawa, 204-777-0909. farmery.ca
Fort Garry Brewing Company
Established in 1930 by B.W. Hoeschen, this microbrewery has gone through many hands but maintains its tradition of brewing fine ales and lagers with the best ingredients. Visit the brewery to witness the process in making the tastiest brews, from mashing to filtering and all the important steps in between! Mon 7:30 am - 3:30 pm. 130 Lowson Cres., Winnipeg, 204-487-3678. fortgarry.com
Half Pints Brewery Co.
This small brewery pushes the boundaries on the taste of beer with big flavours. The flagship Stir Stick Stout — with a distinct chocolate aroma and hearty taste — is a best enjoyed with chocolate cake or vanilla ice cream. Take in a free tour of the brewery every Saturday at 1 pm! Mon - Fri 9 am - 6 pm; Sat 9 am - 5 pm. 550 Roseberry St., Winnipeg, 204-832-7468. halfpintsbrewing.com
Fruits of the Yellowhead
British Columbia is home to a wealth of wineries with a diversity of grape varietals, from rich Chardonnays to supple Pinot Noirs, but other provinces also showcase fruit wines at hidden gems along the Yellowhead.
Countless wineries in this province are accessible from the Yellowhead, but one of your best bets is Privato Vineyard & Winery. Set alongside the scenic slopes of the North Thompson River, this winery offers personal wine tastings, tours, and a peaceful wine garden for enjoying its award-winning Pinot Noir. Visit winebc.com for more wineries. 5505 Westsyde Rd., Kamloops, BC, 250-319-0919. privato.ca
The rhubarb and raspberries used in the bright fruit wines of Barr Estate Winery are grown on-site at their cottage. Call ahead to make an appointment to visit the home of their refreshing signature wines, The Other Red and The Barb. 51526 Range Rd. 231, Sherwood Park, AB, 780-819-9463. barr.ca
Located on the gorgeous riverbank of the South Saskatchewan River, Riverlot Orchards features a quaint bistro where you can enjoy foods that pair well with their fruit wines. The flavourful raspberries, cherries, honeysuckle berries, and other fruits are also made into jams, syrups, and baked goods. West of Saint Louis on Highway 782, Saskatchewan, 306-980-9505. riverlotorchards.ca